As befits a predominantly relationship oriented business culture, it is no surprise that business entertaining plays a significant role in business life. Business lunches and dinners are seen as an integral part of the all-important relationship building process and therefore a great deal of attention should be paid to this part of the business cycle. If you are invited for a meal by a client or a potential partner it is important that you accept. It is also important that you recognise that this event is more for the ongoing development of relationship building than for the discussion of detailed business issues.
If you are invited for dinner or lunch do not offer to pay. The custom in Turkey is that whoever is issues the invitation pays the bill. It is of course acceptable to offer to reciprocate by inviting your contact out the next time you are planning to visit.
As Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, many of your contacts will not drink alcohol and will not eat pork. This does not necessarily mean that they will object to you having these products, but it is worth thinking about it whether it would be more considerate to refrain on these occasions.
All meals will tend with a cup of Turkish coffee which tends to be very sweet and very strong. This is a national drink and it would be polite to join your host even if you find the drink somewhat unpalatable.
Although your hosts may arrive slightly late for the meal our advice would be for you to arrive punctually – just in case.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Turkey only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.